Paul Krugman is obviously insane

The New York Times is available free to all NU students Monday through Friday. Unfortunately, that means the paper’s odious editorial page is also available five days per week. I won’t fudge words – it terrifies me that so many of my fellow students are, at this moment, reading Paul Krugman’s litany of propaganda, lies, and insults.

Nothing about his column makes a whit of sense. In the first sentence, an allusion to the French elections, he says “a slightly left-of-center candidate runs for president.” But Krugman is referring to Lionel Jospin, the Socialist French PM who presided over the June 13, 1998 bill that instituted the 35-hour work week. If that’s “slightly left-of-center”, what the hell is far left? Bourgeois death camps?

Let’s continue. Krugman says of Jospin that “his party has been running the country with great success: unemployment is down, economic growth has accelerated, the sense of malaise that prevailed under the previous administration has evaporated.”

I can only assume that some monkey-related practical joke created that editorial addition, because if Krugman wrote it he should be humiliated. Unemployment has risen in the last few year, from 8.0 to 9.0 percent. Joblessness among people under 25 is 20.5 percent. The World Socialist Web Site, if you can believe it, admits Jospin’s policies have left millions out in the cold and failed to address the nation’s problems. In no way is this analagous to the situation after Bill Clinton, which is Krugman’s point. And how Krugman can see the lowest turnout in the history of the Fifth Republic as a sign that the country’s out of its malaise is just beyond me.

It hurts to go on. Krugman asserts that “moderates … take it for granted that he will win, or that in any case the election will make little difference.” As an allusion to the U.S. elections, this makes no sense at all. I remember exactly two people saying Gore was going to win in a walk: Michael Moore and Studs Terkel. And I don’t need to tell you what astute political experts they are.

Oh, god, it’s all awful … Krugman calls anti-semitic france “by and large a tolerant, open-minded country” … he criticises conservatives for what “seems to bother them” (godless liberals, of course!) instead of the easily-sourced idea that, you know, they have a different theory of how to generate prosperity for the greatest number of people. He actually writes the sentence fragment: “And then there’s John Ashcroft.” Even Robert Scheer doesn’t sink that low.

What all of this proves, I think, is that Krugman is too simple-minded to maintain his column. To paraphrase him – rather, to paraphrase once of his lazier co-optings of a smarter writer – Krugman is a cancer on the Times. Who can take the paper seriously while he’s on board?

Song of the Day: Candy, “Whatever Happened to Fun?”

Leave a Reply